- Sep 6, 2009
Genre: JRPG, Fantasy
Release Date: Original Release, July 1990; Playstation, April 2003; GBA, November 2004; PSP, June 2007; Virtual Console, October 2009
Reviewed platform: GBA
[Img_Inline width="350" height="200" Caption="The 8 bit party" Align="right "]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_A5XwKR0ArNo/TPXQwRv0MrI/AAAAAAAAABE/EgNHVOmYDCs/s1600/8+bit+party.jpg[/Img_Inline]If there's any series that invokes the image of a Japanese role playing game (JRPG), it's the Final Fantasy series. Many of us can recall Cloud Strife, Tidus, Lightning, or Vaan. Good or bad, this series has defined what it means to be a JRPG in the western world. This is where it began.
Initially, Final Fantasy began as a game that was inspired heavily Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, known today as simply Second Edition, and older versions of this game will show it. The magic system used is a "spells per day" system which gives the individual characters a limitation on the number of spells that can be cast by the spell's level. For example, if you run out of third level spell slots to cast your spells, you can no longer cast spells of that level, regardless of how many other spell slots you have. More modern versions of this game has eliminated this in favor of an MP based system.
The game appears simplistic by today's standards. Initially, you choose between one of six classes to make up your party. You have a warrior, who's a typical front line, heavy armored fighter, a thief, who's an agility based fast fighter, a monk, who's a bare fisted fighter, a white mage, who's a healer, a black mage, who's a destructive spellcaster, and the red mage, who functions as a jack-of-all-trades between fighter, healer, and destructive spellcaster. As you would expect, specialists will perform their jobs more effectively than the red mage will. From there, you begin outside of the city of Cornelia.
The story itself seems simplistic with quests amounting to "villains over there. Go kill them." As the story progresses, you realize that there's a little more to it. Each one of the characters that you create carries a particular elemental crystal which intended to imbue various other elemental crystals with power in an attempt to sustain the world. As the story progresses, you stumble across something greater.
[Img_Inline width="350" height="200" Caption="A well placed spell can do wonders" Align="left "]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_A5XwKR0ArNo/TPXbyAqiVhI/AAAAAAAAABI/WA7ktPLO2J8/s1600/Good+Night.jpg[/Img_Inline]The game itself is nothing completely out of the ordinary for a turn based RPG. Your character stand in a line, you give them orders, they carry out your directions at the same time that your enemies move. The complexity comes from how individual characters are equipped and what spells that they have. There is the potential for having an exceedingly difficult time when going through some of the fights available.
Unfortunately, the potential for a good challenge falls flat. Aside from a fight or two, there are no real challenging fights in this game. I never lost more than a single character against even boss battles and most bosses were down in a few rounds. This poses a slight problem if you're after an actual challenge in this game. The main storyline will rarely offer you said challenge. If you're looking for one, there was an addition for the Gameboy Advance version, Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls, called Soul of Chaos which adds four dungeons of varying difficulty to the game. Most of the bosses within these dungeons will offer a challenge to the sort of player that's actively seeking such.
The version of Final Fantasy that I played also came with Final Fantasy II, which will be reviewed later.
Bottom Line: Ultimately, it's an enjoyable game and is worth it's place as a classic. If you enjoy RPGs, you'll likely enjoy this game. Even a typical western RPG fan will likely appreciate the first installment of Final Fantasy.